About Us

Nearly 60 years since the Brown v Board of Education decisions, African American students continue to lack equal access to a high quality education and still lag far behind their white peers in reading and math proficiency, high school rates, and college completion.

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans is a cross-agency effort aimed at identifying evidence-based practices that improve student achievement, and developing a national network that shares these best practices.

The Initiative works to strengthen the nation by improving educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages, and to help ensure that all African Americans receive an education that properly prepares them for college, productive careers, and satisfying lives including in the following ways:

  • Highlighting the role of educators and administrators in increasing and improving access to high quality learning opportunities while also finding ways to support them in their work;
  • Supporting efforts to increase the number of African American teachers and administrators, specifically the number of African American males in the profession;
  • Enhancing investments in high quality early care and education programs, specifically increasing the number of African American children enrolled in quality childcare and preschool programs;
  • Reinforcing connections to rigorous K-12 courses and increasing access to critical supports, including by strengthening relationships between schools and communities and local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers, and parent and volunteer organizations; and by
  • Helping to increase the number of African American students applying to, persisting in and successfully completing college.


Initiative Staff

TBD, Executive Director


Monique S. Toussaint, Senior Advisor

Monique Toussaint, Senior Advisor

Monique S. Toussaint is a Senior Advisor for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. The Initiative works to develop, implement and coordinate educational programs and initiatives at the US Department of Education and other agencies to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for African Americans of all ages.  Ms. Toussaint manages the operational duties of the Initiative (i.e. strategic planning, project management, programming, etc.), coordinates the student volunteer intern program, and facilitates relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Her primary focus includes highlighting resources to  improve the programs, practices and policies enacted by the caring and concerned adults responsible for students’ development and to increase the participation of the African American community and institutions that serve the African American community in the Department’s programs and in education programs at other agencies.  A former Program Officer in the Parental Options and Information (POI) division of the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), this dynamic federal employee has provided technical assistance to the grantees of various programs. In addition to developing, implementing and evaluating programs, she administered multiple contracts; played a leadership role in the integration of a family engagement framework that informs the practices and policies of the Department; served as a Corporate Recruiter; and was a founding member of the Family and Community Engagement Strategy team.

Prior to joining the federal government, Monique held positions in the Leadership Development Division at the Institute of International Education; Sallie Mae’s Kids2College DC; American University’s Career Center; conducted her practicum at the Institute of College Preparation at Georgetown University’s Center for Multicultural Equity and Access; and participated in a two week Delegation on Business in China with the International Scholar Laureate Program.

Monique holds a M.A. in Education and Human Development from George Washington University and a B.S. in Business Administration from the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, DC. She enjoys helping others help themselves, served as a tutor with Horton’s Kids, is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Dupont Circle, and was an inaugural member and Professional Development Co-Chair of the YWCA’s newly established Young Women’s Leadership Council. Passionate about empowering others, she is a Group Coach for the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Leadership Development Program, was an Adjunct Instructor for the Adult Basic Education program at Prince George’s Community College, received the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Service President’s Volunteer Service Award, and was recognized for Leadership in the 2017 Who’s Who Among Young Professionals by the National Urban League Young Professionals.


Interns & Fellows

Yolanda Marti is a rising senior at the University of Michigan located in Ann Arbor, MI where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  During her time at the university, Yolanda has held multiple positions promoting equity and inclusion for her campus community including Political Action Chair for the NAACP, Senior Policy Advisor for Central Student Government, and chair positions on several student advisory boards.  Yolanda is dedicated to ensuring equitable access to a quality education and strives to use her own educational experiences as an Afro-Latin woman to improve the approach to multicultural and multilingual classrooms and classroom management.

Anea Moore is a proud first-generation college student and life long Philadelphian. She recently graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Sociology and Urban-Studies. After both of her parents passed away in 2015, Anea became committed to improving the lives of low-income families before they experienced tragedy like her own family. As the Assistant Family and Community Engagement Coordinator and choir teacher at a local school, Anea helped to organize family programming, community events, and school musicals/concerts for over 500 students and their families throughout her four years of college. She also founded her university’s first-generation, low-income (FGLI) student program which provides a food pantry, free textbook library, emergency grants, and many other resources to 1,000+ students a year. For her community work, she was awarded the prestigious 2018 Truman Scholarship and 2019 Rhodes Scholarship. As a Rhodes Scholar, Anea will pursue a MSc in Social Policy at the University of Oxford beginning in Fall 2019 where she will focus her research and community work on poverty alleviation for low-income, black families.


President's Advisory Commission at their recent Capitol Hill meetingPresident’s Advisory Commission at their September 2015 Capitol Hill meeting

  • Freeman A. Hrabowski III, Chair, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans
  • Angela Glover Blackwell,  Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink
  • Barbara T. Bowman, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development at the Erikson Institute
  • Dr. Gwendolyn E. Boyd, President of Alabama State University
  • Peggy L. Brookins, Co-Founder, Director, and Mathematics Instructor for the Engineering and Manufacturing Institute of Technology at Forest High School
  • Dr. Walter G. Bumphus, President and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges
  • Dr. James P. Comer, Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University Child Study Center
  • Dr. S. Dallas Dance, Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Albert E. Dotson, Jr., partner of Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod
  • Dr. Akosua Barthwell Evans, Chief Executive Officer of The Barthwell Group
  • James O. Freeman, Executive Director, Grassroots Action Support Team
  • Evelynn M. Hammonds, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University
  • Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Black Justice Coalition
  • Tiffany Dena Loftin, Former US Student Association President and Racial Justice Program Coordinator at American Federation of Labor- Congress of Industrial Orgs
  • Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Negro College Fund,
  • Dr. Bryant T. Marks,Associate Professor of Psychology at Morehouse College, Director of the Morehouse Research Institute and Director of the Morehouse Male Initiative
  • C. Kent McGuire, President of the Southern Education Foundation (SEF)
  • Michael T. Nettles, Senior Vice President and the Edmund W. Gordon Chair of the Policy Evaluation and Research Center at Educational Testing Service (ETS)
  • Spencer A. Overton, President, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Rebecca S. Pringle, Vice President of the National Education Association (NEA)
  • E. John Rice, Founder and CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)
  • Dr. Robert K. Ross,  President and Chief Executive Officer for The California Endowment
  • Judge Doris A. Smith-Ribner,former State Appeals Court Judge in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
  • Dr. Ronald A. Williams, former Vice President of The College Board
  • TyKiah R. Wright, President of WrightChoice, Inc.

President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans Meeting Transcripts